As our kids grow, every day we see them shed old skins – fears, habits, vulnerability – and blossom into young adults with optimistic and thoughtful outlooks that we couldn’t have imagined when we brought them into the D2C home 6 years ago. Our oldest boy, Fednel, 17, is coming to a point where his future isn’t as far as we remember and a leap of faith into the next chapter of his life awaits him.
While our kids always remain a part of the D2C family, and are forever close to our hearts, legally D2C is not able to nurture them within our Family Home past the age of 18. As Fednel approaches this milestone, we are asking ourselves: “What happens now?” “Is he ready?” “Will he be OK?”
With genuine confidence, our answer to the latter question is yes, he will be OK! Fednel will carry his hopes and aspirations with him as he leaves the D2C Family Home and, with our help, will gain economic independence and be financially stable in the profession he loves. That profession is Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), and the burgeoning Haitian tourist industry is ready for him to make his mark.
During our most recent SEVA trip, an international volunteer donated two paddleboards to D2C. With the encouragement of our SEVA community, Fednel and some young volunteers took to the waters and braced the waves of Cyvadier Plage with confidence, laughter and intention.
Fednel was one of the only kids in our D2C home who accepted the challenge of taking the paddleboard far out to sea. He stood up against the choppy waves and shouted happily as he experienced paddleboarding for the first time. His skill and confidence on the board developed rapidly and it became clear he was a natural.
After a couple days, D2C founder and Executive Director, Kristin O’Connell, sat with Fednel and discussed the possibility of Fednel heading up a D2C Youth Livelihood Project focused on providing SUP lessons to tourists in Jacmel. Fednel sat across from Kristin quiet and focused. He listened to her discuss the importance of professional development, the true meaning of responsibility, and the opportunity for him to bring this business and the network he generates well into his future as an adult. After a few moments of silence, a smile broke through his serious expression and he accepted the duty.
In the weeks to come, Fednel is perfecting his craft of paddleboarding, instruction, and safety guidance. He will join D2C staff in creating a business partnership with Hotel Cyvadier where the SUP livelihood project will be run out of. D2C will also help prepare Fednel (and future participants) to be a business owner by providing professional development instruction on administration and financial management. As the livelihood project unfolds and grows we will keep our community updated. In the meantime, we’d like to thank our donors, volunteers, friends, and family for being a part of this journey. Our children won’t be children forever, but we’re dedicated to them just the same.